New Paradise Laboratories (NPL) is an experimental performance ensemble that explores radical means to bend conventional ideas of theater, while valuing wild humor, a muscular visual sensibility, and a fascination with the utopian impulse. Led by Pew Fellow and Obie Award-winner Whit MacLaughlin, NPL uses a variety of creative strategies including company-devised techniques, cross-media design elements, and site-specific installations. Center-supported work has included Fatebook, featuring an audience experience that began online before becoming live, and Extremely Public Displays of Privacy, an ambitious three-part, multimedia work. In 2015, NPL received a Center Discovery grant to expand its devised theater techniques and lay the groundwork for a series of new pieces, through investigations of improvisational structures, games of chance, and audience interactivity. This research has informed the Center-supported presentation of Hello Blackout!, a new theater work integrating contingency into NPL's physical theater style, with live music by composer and Pew Fellow Bhob Rainey.
New Paradise Laboratories' (NPL) core ensemble will expand their devised theater techniques and lay the groundwork for a series of new pieces, through investigations of improvisational structures, games of chance, and audience interactivity, with a group of international practitioners including composer Bhob Rainey and UK game theory specialist Tassos Stevens. NPL's research will culminate in a series of recitals that will put the group's investigations in front of audiences to assess results. These innovative, experimental recitals will offer audiences a thorough but playful look at how chance influences our lives, while contributing to the local and national conversation about best practices to expand devised theater and improvisation techniques.
*Additional unrestricted funds are added to each grant for general operating support.*